Arsenal’s best transfer window business has been ignored

When the only player brought in is a talented but aging goalkeeper deemed surplus to requirements at Chelsea, it’s safe to say Arsenal have had a pretty underwhelming transfer window so far.

However there has been some business that didn’t garner the attention or praise that it deserves, and which is also indicator of Arsenal’s progression as an elite football club, and that is Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott signing contract extensions with the club.

 

On July 31, 2015 it was announced Cazorla had signed a two-year extension, and Walcott a new four-year contract.

These are two world-class players that could easily play at a lot of Europe’s top clubs. Cazorla has created the most assists in the Premier League over the last three years since he joined in the 2012-13 season.

In fact, captain-at-the-time Xavi stated that he would like to see Cazorla at Barcelona. Even Walcott, who has a good scoring record when fit, has been subject to much interest from Chelsea and Liverpool over the years.

But without even a drawn-out contact negotiation process and tons of speculation in the media, the pair have elected to stay at Arsenal.

Any club that considers themselves a top Premier League team perhaps shouldn’t be praised for keeping a hold of two first-team players, but this wasn’t always the case for Arsenal.

While fans of the other top Premier League clubs got to hear about exciting high-profile transfers their clubs were making, it wasn’t long ago that the transfer window used to be a time of dread for Arsenal fans.

Instead of big-name players joining the club, they were going the other way for the Gunners. August of 2012 saw club-captain Robin Van Persie join rivals Manchester United, while Alex Song left for Barcelona.

The summer before that, previous Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas also went to the Catalan club, while Samir Nasri, and Gael Clichy both left for the other big-spending Manchester club.

At that time the exodus was truly on and the next in line was Walcott, whose contract was up at the end of the 2012-13 season.

It looked increasingly likely that another top player could leave the club as Walcott initially declined a contact offer in August of that year

The issue was not resolved until January 2013 when it was finally announced he’d signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract.

Walcott’s contract extension this summer went a lot smoother and this time there was no need for Arsenal fans to vent their frustration through songs and videos telling him to ‘sign the ting’.

This is now the third-consecutive summer transfer window where Arsenal hasn’t lost a star player. The only possible exception being Bacary Sagna but he was 31 at the time and hasn’t overly impressed at Manchester City.

Arsenal also swiftly replaced him with Mathieu Debuchy, the younger right-back who kept Sagna out of the France national team during the 2014 World Cup.

Given that Arsenal have previously won the Premier League, gone a whole season unbeaten, and have the most-expensive tickets in the league, it is fair for people to have high expectations from the club.

But ending their nine-year trophy drought with back-to-back FA Cup victories, the big money moves for exceptional players like Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez, and now the hassle-free and consistent contract renewal of star players, all points to clear progression at the club.

The Author

Mike Woodward

Writer and multimedia designer. Can do at least like 20 keepie uppies.

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